86

Why can’t the Flames focus on successful NHL and AHL teams?

Throughout this past season, I was able to provide FlamesNation with a firsthand look at their AHL team, the Stockton Heat, in their pursuit of the Calder Cup trophy. I wrote about players, their progress, their strengths and weaknesses, and where they would fit in if (and when) called up to Calgary.

When I questioned some of the moves Calgary made down the stretch, and their impact on the Heat’s playoff run, the overwhelming response I received from posters was: “The purpose of Stockton is player development; they are there to support Calgary. It is not to field a team to make a Calder Cup run. Making the playoffs is a bonus and not a priority.”

My question to all of you is: Why can’t we have both a player development and winning farm system?

I know call-ups are inevitable and necessary, but bringing someone up for a week or two just to have them eating better popcorn does not seem productive. It seems counterintuitive to their development. I would think being in a playoff chase would enhance their development and drive. Most fans in Stockton are excited when one of their own gets promoted and we get to watch them in the Flamin’ C jersey, but to see them called up and not on the ice is frustrating, I would imagine for both the players and the Stockton fans. I know NHL paychecks are a factor, but ice time is also important.

Would it be more beneficial to the Flames to have players who have won a championship bring that winning attitude and energy from the minors to the big club? Is building a winning tradition throughout the organization that impossible to do? In my opinion, the answer to this is a resounding NO.

Below I list the playoff records for a number of NHL teams and their AHL affiliates from the 2011-12 season until this year, along with the AHL player impact for the previous three Cup finals. For those who state that some franchises “stack their AHL teams with established older players,” the lists shown will dispel that myth.

To start off, the 2015 Stanley Cup pitted Chicago versus Tampa Bay. Here is a look at the players (and coaches) who have not only been in the AHL, but also came through their respective systems. This also shows which players have hoisted the Calder Cup.

Thirteen players came through Syracuse (and Rochester) on their way to Tampa, while 12 players made their way to the Blackhawks after being an Ice Hog. A combined five players and one coach have lifted the Calder Cup as champions.

NHL Team Season Finish AHL Team Finish
Chicago Blackhawks 2011-12 1st round 2011-12 Missed playoffs
Chicago Blackhawks 2012-13 CHAMPS 2012-13 Missed playoffs
Chicago Blackhawks 2013-14 3rd round 2013-14 Missed playoffs
Chicago Blackhawks 2014-15 CHAMPS 2014-15 2nd round
Chicago Blackhawks 2015-16 1st round 2015-16 Missed playoffs
Chicago Blackhawks 2016-17 1st round 2016-17 Missed playoffs
Chicago Blackhawks 2017-18 Missed playoffs 2017-18 3rd round

 

NHL Team Season Finish AHL Team Finish
Tampa Bay Lightning 2011-12 Missed playoffs 2011-12 CHAMPS
Tampa Bay Lightning 2012-13 Missed playoffs 2012-13 Finals
Tampa Bay Lightning 2013-14 1st round 2013-14 Missed playoffs
Tampa Bay Lightning 2014-15 Finals 2014-15 1st round
Tampa Bay Lightning 2015-16 3rd round 2015-16 Missed playoffs
Tampa Bay Lightning 2016-17 Missed playoffs 2016-17 Finals
Tampa Bay Lightning 2017-18 3rd round 2017-18 2nd round

The 2011-12 AHL champs, the Rochester Americans, Tampa’s AHL team.

In 2016, the finals saw the Penguins take on the Sharks. Here are the players from these teams and their AHL playoff appearances. All but two players from the Penguins (Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin) came through the AHL, with 13 players coming from within the organization. Meanwhile, 11 Sharks played for their AHL squads in Worcester, Massachusetts and San Jose.

NHL Team Season Finish AHL Team Finish
Pittsburgh Penguins 2011-12 1st round 2011-12 2nd round
Pittsburgh Penguins 2012-13 3rd round 2012-13 3rd round
Pittsburgh Penguins 2013-14 2nd round 2013-14 3rd round
Pittsburgh Penguins 2014-15 1st round 2014-15 2nd round
Pittsburgh Penguins 2015-16 CHAMPS 2015-16 2nd round
Pittsburgh Penguins 2016-17 CHAMPS 2016-17 1st round
Pittsburgh Penguins 2017-18 2nd round 2017-18 1st round

 

NHL Team Season Finish AHL Team Finish
San Jose Sharks 2011-12 1st round 2011-12 Missed playoffs
San Jose Sharks 2012-13 2nd round 2012-13 Missed playoffs
San Jose Sharks 2013-14 1st round 2013-14 Missed playoffs
San Jose Sharks 2014-15 Missed playoffs 2014-15 1st round
San Jose Sharks 2015-16 Finals 2015-16 1st round
San Jose Sharks 2016-17 1st round 2016-17 3rd round
San Jose Sharks 2017-18 2nd round 2017-18 1st round

In 2017, Pittsburgh again battled their way to the finals, this time against the Nashville Predators. Here is an interesting fact about the Milwaukee Admirals: they have been Nashville’s affiliate since the Predators came into the league in 1998. The Penguins’ AHL team has called Wilkes-Barre home since 1999.

NHL Team Season Finish AHL Team Finish
Nashville Predators 2011-12 2nd round 2011-12 1st round
Nashville Predators 2012-13 Missed playoffs 2012-13 1st round
Nashville Predators 2013-14 Missed playoffs 2013-14 1st round
Nashville Predators 2014-15 1st round 2014-15 Missed playoffs
Nashville Predators 2015-16 2nd round 2015-16 1st round
Nashville Predators 2016-17 Finals 2016-17 1st round
Nashville Predators 2017-18 2nd round 2017-18 Missed playoffs

A whopping 19 players from Milwaukee took the trip down south to Nashville. Even without getting out of the first round, it still provided valuable experience for the Predators.

In addition to those championship teams, here are some additional franchises that have had success in both leagues, including this year’s Calder Cup Champions, the Toronto Marlies.

NHL Team Season Finish AHL Season Finish
Boston Bruins 2011-12 1st round 2011-12 Missed playoffs
Boston Bruins 2012-13 Finals 2012-13 2nd round
Boston Bruins 2013-14 2nd round 2013-14 2nd round
Boston Bruins 2014-15 Missed Playoff 2014-15 1st round
Boston Bruins 2015-16 Missed Playoff 2015-16 1st round
Boston Bruins 2016-17 1st round 2016-17 3rd round
Boston Bruins 2017-18 2nd round 2017-18 1st round

 

NHL Team Season Finish AHL Team Finish
Detroit Red Wings 2011-12 1st round 2011-12 Missed playoffs
Detroit Red Wings 2012-13 2nd round 2012-13 CHAMPS
Detroit Red Wings 2013-14 1st round 2013-14 2nd round
Detroit Red Wings 2014-15 1st round 2014-15 3rd round
Detroit Red Wings 2015-16 1st round 2015-16 2nd round
Detroit Red Wings 2016-17 Missed playoffs 2016-17 CHAMPS
Detroit Red Wings 2017-18 Missed playoffs 2017-18 1st round

The 2017 Calder Cup champion Grand Rapids Griffins.

NHL Team Season Finish AHL Team Finish
Los Angeles Kings 2011-12 CHAMPS 2011-12 1st round
Los Angeles Kings 2012-13 3rd round 2012-13 1st round
Los Angeles Kings 2013-14 CHAMPS 2013-14 1st round
Los Angeles Kings 2014-15 Missed playoffs 2014-15 CHAMPS
Los Angeles Kings 2015-16 1st round 2015-16 3rd round
Los Angeles Kings 2016-17 Missed playoffs 2016-17 1st round
Los Angeles Kings 2017-18 1st round 2017-18 1st round

The 2015 Calder Cup champion Manchester Monarchs.

NHL Team Season Finish AHL Team Finish
Toronto Maple Leafs 2011-12 Missed playoffs 2011-12 Finals
Toronto Maple Leafs 2012-13 1st round 2012-13 2nd round
Toronto Maple Leafs 2013-14 Missed playoffs 2013-14 3rd round
Toronto Maple Leafs 2014-15 Missed playoffs 2014-15 1st round
Toronto Maple Leafs 2015-16 Missed playoffs 2015-16 3rd round
Toronto Maple Leafs 2016-17 1st round 2016-17 2nd round
Toronto Maple Leafs 2017-18 1st round 2017-18 CHAMPS

2017-18 Stanley Cup

This year’s Stanley Cup Final saw the Washington Capitals defeat the Vegas Golden Knights in five games.

Even Vegas, who took over the Chicago Wolves, made the Calder Cup playoffs in their first year. Yes, I know that Vegas shared the Chicago Wolves with St. Louis, but the affiliate agreement is with the Golden Knights and not the Blues.

Side note: In 2018-19, St. Louis takes over the San Antonio Rampage from Colorado, as the Avalanche moved their team closer and elevated the ECHL Colorado Eagles to the AHL. The Eagles won the Kelly Cup this season.

NHL Team Season Finish AHL Team Finish
Washington Capitals 2011-12 2nd round 2011-12 1st round
Washington Capitals 2012-13 1st round 2012-13 1st round
Washington Capitals 2013-14 Missed playoffs 2013-14 Missed playoffs
Washington Capitals 2014-15 2nd round 2014-15 2nd round
Washington Capitals 2015-16 2nd round 2015-16 Finals
Washington Capitals 2016-17 2nd round 2016-17 2nd round
Washington Capitals 2017-18 CHAMPS 2017-18 Missed playoffs

 

NHL Team Season Finish AHL Team Finish
Vegas Golden Knights 2017/2018 Finals 2017/2018 1st round

Unsuccessful franchises

Now for a look at a few teams that miss the playoffs regularly and their AHL teams during the same time frame. None of these teams have had any lasting success at either the NHL or AHL level in recent years.

NHL Team Season Finish AHL Team Finish
Buffalo Sabres No Appearances 2011-12 1st round
2017-18 1st round

 

NHL Team Season Finish AHL Team Finish
Carolina Hurricanes No Appearances 2012-13 1st round
2016-17 1st round
2017-18 2nd round

 

NHL Team Season Finish AHL Team Finish
Colorado Avalanche 2013-14 1st round No appearances
Colorado Avalanche 2017-18 1st round

 

NHL Team Season Finish AHL Team Finish
Florida Panthers 2011-12 1st round 2011-12 2nd round
Florida Panthers 2014-15 Missed playoffs 2014-15 1st round
Florida Panthers 2015-16 1st round 2014-15 Missed playoffs

The remaining teams had so-so records, including the Dallas/Texas Stars. Dallas has found its way to the Stanley Cup playoffs twice in this timeframe while the team to the south of them (Texas plays in Austin) has qualified for the Calder Cup five times, winning the Cup in 2013-14 and losing in the finals this year.

The Flames

The Flames’ AHL team resided in Abbotsford (2011-14) and Adirondack (2014-15) until the 2015-16 season before moving west to join the newly formed Pacific Division as the Stockton Heat. With only five appearances in a combined 14 attempts, both NHL and AHL levels need to improve.

NHL Team Season Finish AHL Team Finish
Calgary Flames 2011-12 Missed playoffs 2011-12 2nd round
Calgary Flames 2012-13 Missed playoffs 2012-13 Missed playoffs
Calgary Flames 2013-14 Missed playoffs 2013-14 1st round
Calgary Flames 2014-15 2nd round 2014-15 Missed playoffs
Calgary Flames 2015-16 Missed playoffs 2015-16 Missed playoffs
Calgary Flames 2016-17 1st round 2016-17 1st round
Calgary Flames 2017-18 Missed playoffs 2017-18 Missed playoffs

Conclusion

My research shows that you can have success at both levels and do not need to sacrifice a winning attitude solely for player development. In fact, it appears that those teams that have playoff-bound NHL teams also have successful AHL teams, with the exception of the Blackhawks.

The Flames need to find a way to build up the entire organization from ECHL to AHL to NHL. Most of these teams have longstanding commitments to their AHL cities, choosing not to move the franchise every five years or so. Only time will tell, but it would be nice to have long-term deal in place in Stockton to build some history and tradition.

With the recent free agent signings and drafts, it appears the Flames are heading in the right direction. Playoff runs in Stockton should become a yearly ritual, not an exception. A Calder Cup for Stockton will set the table for a Stanley Cup (or two) in Calgary.

  • Baalzamon

    Not to put too fine a point on it, but the additions this summer would appear to have been made with this in mind (the additions of Robinson, Quine, Hogstrom, and, to a lesser extent, Graovac and Ehliz). Maybe Burke didn’t like spending for the farm team?

    • Beer League Coach

      I don’t think the problem falls entirely on Burke. It goes right to the ownership group and former gm’s. Remember when Darryl Sutter made the first trade between Flames & Oilers. We got a washed up Steve Staios from Coilers for a replacement level d man (Aaron Johnson) and a 3rd round draft pick. Staios was far past his prime at that time the 3rd round pick should have come from Coilers to the Flames to almost make the trade even. True, Johnson did not develop into a solid NHLer but he still had a little bit of potential at that time. Sutter attempted to justify this trade by telling us that he made the trade to bring “veteran leadership” to the team. At that time the Flames had the 2nd oldest team in the NHL. Only Detroit Red Wings were older than Flames back in those days. Flames still did not make the playoffs that year and continued to flounder in the next few seasons. I raise this point to illustrate the depths of the Flames talent level. After Sutter left with the team in cap hell and still going nowhere it left a massive job for his successor to rebuild the franchise from the ground up. Jay Feaster started the job, but had to give up a 2nd rd draft pick and Robyn Regehr to dump an overpaid, over the hill forward and all we got back was a replacement level d-man and a still developing small forward (Paul Byron) who was later lost on waivers to keep a bigger player just to add some truculence. Now we have Brad Treliving running the show and at least he appears to have a plan to rebuild the team. It seems to be on the right track but his job is still not finished. It is a process that will take another couple of years to bear fruit.

      • Baalzamon

        I’m not talking about prospects, I’m talking about AHL veterans (or European imports). The farm team would only have one really good one under Burke (Ben Street, Linden Vey, and Marek Hrivik being the best examples, though you could add Goloubef to that list pushing it to two last year). This summer, after Burke left, Treliving added three (Quine, Robinson, and Hogstrom). Possibly as many as five depending on how good Ehliz is and what happens with Czarnik.

        Are you telling me that’s a coincidence?

        • idbr

          Agreed. Sometimes when a team is too loaded with young prospects there is no room for these veterans. In that case the team may have very good prospects but still lose at an AHL level. I think a balance is good and keeping a winning atmosphere is important.

  • SoCalFlamesFan

    I think you are right, limiting “cups of coffee” to legitimate times when a developing player will actually play. Otherwise it gives a sort of disposable attitude towards the AHL player.

  • Heeeeeere's Johnny!

    Thanks for this SF. Here are 3 things I take from this article;

    1. It is hard to win in any league. Even teams who have a history of winning also lose early or miss playoffs.
    2. Where there are winning NHL teams there is usually a consistent AHL playoff team.
    3. NHL playoff teams stockpile talent so that in the words of Tre “its hard to make the [NHL] team”.

    So where we are saying let us see the kids up here because the Brouwers and Stones and Lazarus that we have aren’t cutting it and you are saying leave the kids here for a playoff run it proves that we have some growing to do as a franchise still. If the Flames are on a 100+ point pace all year may guess is we will be less vocal about giving the kids a chance. We in fact want it to be hard to make the club, but only because there is a talent logjam not a bunch of entitled overreaching veteran contracts in the way.

  • buts

    I agree 100% SF. When we used to have a triple A baseball team I used to get so po’d when Seattle Mariners called up our best players at the start of our playoffs just so they could sit on the bench during the expanded roster period of September in mlb. To see guys not hit the ice or even used properly like Mangiapane is very frustrating. Winning is a culture and if management doesn’t embrace it and If you keep doing what your doing you will keep getting what your getting.

      • Raffydog

        I’m not trying to troll dude, just telling it like it is. The Flames have been eliminated in the first round how many times? The Stamps have mastered the art of the choke. I don’t know if it’s just a matter of the wrong people making the decisions or what, but there is a problem with pro sports teams in this city.

        • Cfan in Van

          Both teams have won championships. Stop being a perpetual Debbie Downer and maybe people won’t take your crap for trolling. If being a “Fan” of a team doesn’t bring you at least a bit of positivity, then please stop trying to be one… for everyone’s sake. What’s the point, if you’re perpetually in a dark cloud and just spread it around to others? Or you’re an Oilers fan who trolls. One or the other.

          • Beer League Coach

            Stamps have gone to the Grey Cup 3 times in the last 4 years. And every time they had to beat the Asskimoes to get there. So if this is high school football what is so great about your team?

          • canadian1967

            Watching the CFL is like watching the ECHL.

            It’s fine as long as you understand that it is the Minor Leagues and that there is another League with higher standing where the best players play.

            It’s obviously far above High School Football, but below the NFL.

          • Cheeky

            I love when millenials jump on the NFL bandwagon (“who won last year? That’s who I support”). You all grew up Canadian yet support American football. Yes better players (obviously with the pay) but please how exciting is rush for 2 yards, then rush for another 2, etc…I’m not bashing NFL, if that’s your cup of tea or you’re from the US, then so be it – just please don’t bash CFL like you’re too good for it…

    • Sven

      Comparing Calgary to Edmonton economically

      Top 1% income cut off:

      Edmonton: $298k
      Calgary: $452k

      Top 20% income cutoff:

      Edmonton: $76k
      Calgary: $79k

      Median Household income:

      Edmonton: $102k
      Calgary: $ 104k

      and not to forget:

      “ESPN conducted its annual poll of which NHL cities are the most unpopular among NHL players. This year the Winnipeg Jets took the top slot, with the Edmonton Oilers placing second and the New York Islanders finishing third”.

      and as a conclusion:

      “Calgary has maintained its spot as the fifth most livable city in the world, according to the 2017 report from The Economist. he Economist ranks the world’s cities to determine which locations provide the best or worst living conditions. The decision is based on 30 factors across five broad categories: stability, health care, education, infrastructure and culture and environment.
      Calgary scored a 96.6 out of a possible 100 overall, getting perfect grades in stability, health care and education. The city earned a 96.4 in infrastructure, higher than the other two Canadian cities in the top five”.

      and it may be interesting to note that – although Tripoli , Lagos and Port Moresby were listed as the worst places on the globe

      Edmonton didnt even make the list-

      perhaps suggesting that living in Edmonton is slightly less enjoyable than living in Damascus, Karachi or Algiers

      and so if Calgary is not synonymous with “success”

      where does that leave Edmonton?

      • Oil Spilly

        Lmao @ SVEN. Did you just get so hurt that you just brought up family household incomes in to play???? I work in the Oil Patch. One of the lucky few left. Trust me the talk in our industry is about the massive vacancy rates in Calgary. “The Ghost Towers” I believe they are referred too. Meanwhile in EDM they have just built 2 of the tallest skyscrapers in all of Canada LOL.

        Now can we get back to hockey and quit making this so personal. Calgary/Edmonton is the best rivalry in the world. #BOA

        • Sven

          “Calgary/Edmonton is the best rivalry in the world. #BOA”

          no it’s not

          a rivalry suggests a competition of a sort by peers or near peers vying for primacy

          Comparing Calgary to Edmonton is like comparing Scarlett Johansson to Roseanne Barr

          or

          Singapore to Afghanistan

          in the first case both are female actresses –
          and in the second case both are Asian nations

          but that is kinda where the similarities end

        • HOCKEY83

          Until they ever meet in a playoff series again there is no Battle of Alberta and hasn’t been in 27 years. I love the name calling losers who think there is actual a BOA. It’s like allowing children to play with the adults.

    • Off the wall

      Poor Raffy got over 86 trashes yesterday. I wasn’t one of them.
      I just don’t trash, but that’s me.

      I’d rather Cheer for something I agree with.

      However is Raffy really that wrong?
      I’m not referring to Calgary as a city, I love Calgary.

      When was the last time we celebrated a Flames success?
      2004. 14 years ago. It was wild, fun and exciting! The city went crazy, we didn’t trash our city like Vancouver did, because we’re classy.

      But 14 years is a loooong time folks. Too long for this fan…

      • Raffydog

        86 trashes? Not bad. I wasn’t trying to start a debate over which city is better, just saying that maybe there is a problem with the people in charge of these teams. After ‘04 the Flames in particular clung to this ideology that you just had to be good enough to get in then hope for the best. How does that create a winning culture? Why not aim to be the best there is and win multiple cups. I just think the people in charge haven’t been focused on being the best, and that’s a disservice to the players and the fans.

          • Cfan in Van

            So the Oilers made the playoffs once in the last 12 years… But no, keep telling us how bad we are. Quit throwing pots and kettles at glass houses already.

          • Sven

            Also happy to talk hockey

            The 2017/2018 Hockey news season preview had the Flames ranked as the 5th most talented team in the league

            The Flames under-performed – likely as a reflection of poor coaching and sub-optimal team chemistry

            Calgary is now a more talented and older team as compared to last seasons side
            and they have likely upgraded the coaching staff
            Calgary will be better this season

            The 2017/2018 Hockey news season preview had the Oilers ranked as the 19th most talented team in the league

            the Oilers performed as expected given that their coaching is likely adequate – but their talent is basically limited to Mr McDavid
            Edmonton will be no better this season

            but posting as a Calgarian – its hard not to to enjoy laughing at the steaming pile of dung north of Red Deer –

            for so , so , so , so many reasons

            nicely summed up in the New York online magazine “Buzzfeed” which noted:

            -“Lonely Planet Basically Called Edmonton A Frozen Sh!thole And Now Everyone’s Mad”

            The 13th edition of the venerable travel guide ‘lonely Planet’, released in April, paints the city as a forgettable stopover en route to more exciting places like Jasper National Park.

            “Modern, spread out and frigidly cold for much of the year, Alberta’s second-largest city and capital is a government town that you’re more likely to read about in the business pages than the travel supplements,”

            as compared to the rave review of that south of Red Deer town:

            “Calgary will surprise you with its beauty, cool eateries, nightlife beyond honky-tonk and long, worthwhile to-do list. Calgarians aren’t known for their modesty; it’s their self-love and can-do attitude that got them through disastrous flooding in 2013 and, in 2016, saw them helping residents of wildfire-stricken Fort McMurray with unquestioning generosity. We mustn’t forget – Calgary also hosted the highly successful 1988 Winter Olympics, elected North America’s first Muslim mayor, and throws one of Canada’s biggest parties, the Calgary Stampede”

            how does that go again….??

            oh yes

            “Lmao ”

            😉

          • Flaming moe

            Sven you are letting the trolls win. Don’t feed them. You are all over the place in your responses and they are super long. Spilly is probably licking his chops right now.

    • withachance

      WW reminds me of Michael Scott from that one scene in the Office:

      “If I had a gun, with two bullets, and I was in a room with Hitler, Bin Laden and Toby, I would shoot Toby twice.”

      Replace Toby with Backlund and/or Huska, shooting with kicking them to the curb, and you have WW on every comment section of FN

    • The real brad treliving

      Huska is no longer in charge of Stockton. That team is getting talented fresh blood and an injection of size and gritty vets. So which do you think will contribute more to their success ww? Losing huska? or the addition of quality players?

  • Off the wall

    Well done SF!
    You mentioned before how Stockton’s attendance at games is poor for the most part.

    I believe a winning tradition, along with marketing would address this. Why should we be happy with mediocrity?

    I believe Treliving is trying to adjust this franchise (and affiliate ) into a new era.
    One where it’s difficult to make the club and breeds healthy competition.
    That drives players to perform their best each day. It also creates an atmosphere of winning.

    I believe Treliving sent a ‘heavy’ message when he moved Hamilton.

    My frustration was already at an all time high with GG at the helm. Adding Peters was a sign to me, that we need experienced coaching to get the best out of our players.

    I’m really excited for Cail MacLean to get his opportunity to mould this Stockton team.
    He’s a winner in my books.
    Great teacher, positive coach.
    It goes a long way in developing the players into professionals.

    I believe we have just begun to address this matter of a winning culture. Now it’s time to SHOW it!

    • Hockeysense9393

      Well said OTW, but there is always an “except” to every rule. One of the reasons why BT is in this job/position now, is because of his success with building leagues with franchises that should be winning, no matter where they are, especially outside of the NHL. Teams in the minors still need that competitive attitude, because players just want to win. That is what they are bred for. Fighting for a Calder Cup makes the sting less painful, if you don’t get called up to sit on the bench. It’s a fine line obviously, because you always want to actlimate kids into a professional attitude by watching and following their peers. “Finally” he’s thinking this way? It makes one wonder if Burke had more to do with that then is actually reported. BT is finally aloud to follow his true vision? It’s an exciting look none the less.

      • Hockeysense9393

        There is always politics in place as well, especially in professional sports. Sometimes you need to make sacrifices for the greater good. It looks to me like more and more “better” potential players are looking at the Flames as a landing spot, because of attitude and potential. If Brouwer was bought out, maybe Neal looks at the Flames a little different. If players like Lazar and Bartowski are just disregarded instead of getting that steadfast look…then maybe

  • Redleader

    Any predictions for player stats !
    Johnny 95 points. monahan 79 points
    Neal 68
    TKACHUK 62
    Lindholm 49
    Backlund 44
    Bennett 40
    Frolik 35
    Jankowski 33
    Dube 30

  • FL🔥MES

    Arguing about the past is a weak way of trolling and a diversion from the present and future. The Flames have put together a deep roster and, in doing so, have bolstered the depth of of farm team at the same time. Without a doubt, it is important to have a successful farm team where players can have time to develop their skills and winning attitudes for the NHL.

    Here’s to a great season in Stockton this season!

    And as far as cities are concerned, Edmonton is the 18th nicest city in Alberta.

    • Who is Alberta’s team?

      Anyone who is arguing about which city is better to live in on a hockey website is not very bright. 80% of Oiler fans live outside of EDM lol duhhhhh. Hence why no oiler fans cared about building a beautiful rink cause they were not the ones on the hook for it. That’s why it’s called Alberta’s team. 5 Stanley cups and the 2 best hockey players ever will do that for a team though. How about having the nicest state of the art building in the NHL. How about playing in the saddledome. 😂 Cant even host the simplest of concerts at that venue. I’m guessing 80% of flames fans must be city of Calgary tax payers cause ain’t no support for a new rink lol great fan base that Calgary.

  • oilcanboyd

    How the Marlies wound up winning the AHL Championship:
    https://mapleleafsnation.com/2018/05/07/the-toronto-marlies-have-invested-heavily-in-their-veterans-and-its-paid-off/

    Personally I would rather have most spots in Stockton reserve for Flames prospects. AHL veterans limited to those under 26!

    However Tre has been addressing the issue of veteran talent in Stockton. Maybe, Brouwer will be able to add some leadership net season!!

  • MDG1600

    We could have a successful NHL and AHL team. We don’t because we have not had enough good draft picks. It isn’t that complicated. Draft better and quit trading away 1st and 2nd round picks = problem solved.

    • The real brad treliving

      Had we not traded away some of those picks. Would we have added two #5 over all picks to our nhl team? Or would the players we would have gotten won us a Calder?🤔

        • The real brad treliving

          Trading away draft picks the last 2 years didn’t cause us to miss the playoffs. None of the players we would have likely taken would even be ready to play in the nhl. What trading the picks did do was contribute to opening a contention window. I do agree however that we do need to stockpile picks in the future, in order to keep adding to the core as they get too old or too expensive.

    • SgtRoadBlock

      Maybe the Top Top staff is seeing now that more Draft picks R good to have. Plus doing more invites to the rookie camps can do wonders …And Trust the Scouts over Sea ..

    • Getpucksdeep

      Don’t agree completely. Yes, the AHL team needs to develop rookies. Most if not all of the AHL champs the last 10-20 years including this years TOs Marlies, had a nice smattering of 24-31 year old career AHLers on them as well. Ben Smith, Chris Mueller, Colin Greening etc all played in the playoffs. If everyone’s a prospect how’s the team build it’s own identity? Also the last 5 years have seen a lot of guys like Monahan, Gaudreau, Tkachuk and Bennett simply jump straight to the NHL.

      • The real brad treliving

        That’s pretty good drafting. I’d say with the lack of picks Calgary has done #1 a great job finding draft steals and #2 the picks given up to get dougie and eventually land lindholm and hanifin could have ended up as Greg nemisz or curtis Lazar, or any number of draft busts. No ahl success with this guys either. Although that 2nd for Lazar still stings 🙄

        • Getpucksdeep

          I agree here as well, however I will again throw a little grenade into the discussion. While Ferland wasn’t consistent he did throw a team leading 171 hits. Hes gone. Hathaway whom many wonder if he’ll make the team threw 154 followed by Bennett with 140 and Lazar with 130. Brouwer was top 5 with 125. If we hide Brouwer on the 4th line, demote Lazar and Hathaway who’s going to play it physical along the boards, when that’s maybe whats called for in some games? Chucky will throw 100 and amazingly Carolina hit stats but Lindholm was credited with 98! How’s that impact a coaches choices at camp?

  • Cheeky

    Nice work SF, and fully agree you need a winning mind at all levels. I cheer on Stockton as a Flames fan, yes I prefer to see our prospects do better than the AHL contract guys but winning creates a mindset that should be about team success. Players talk about it all the time that when they win (or come close), they desire it much more…